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Addressing the digital literacy gap in the use of information and communication technologies in the dissemination of indigenous knowledge: a rural community experience

Alfred John Mwanza
Jacob Maisha Molepo
Nomalungelo Goduka


Lack of digital literacy among custodians of indigenous knowledge (IK) is a major impediment to their fully harnessing technology and participating in the creation, dissemination and use of IK. IK emanates from local contexts, involving local actors who possess tacit and implicit knowledge, which thus constrains its generalization and diffusion into modern electronic platforms. Empowering IK custodians (who are mostly less skilled adults) demands learning strategies in which ancestral knowledge and the wisdom of elders is augmented by digital memories. This article reports on a study into adult participation in a rural e-Learning community project in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. A collaborative theoretical perspective, drawn from the theories of andragogy, situated learning, and eZiko, underpinned the study. Transformational change occurs in communities that adopt modern tools which enable ordinary people to be agents of their own empowerment, provided that they perceive the value in technology to support and supplement their daily activities, rather than when they see technology denigrating their cultural values.

Keywords: Dissemination, digital literacy, Indigenous Knowledge, indigenous food plants, e-Learning